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Full text of "Flora Indica Vol-I"

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234                                       FLORA   INDTCA.
The Khasia hills rise abruptly on the south from the plains
of Silhet to the height of about 4000 feet, and thence more
gradually to 6000 feet. The culminating point is Chillong
hill, the elevation of which is about 6600 feet. Their south-
em slopes are exposed to the full force of the monsoon, and
the rain-fall is there excessive, amounting at Churra to 500 or
600 inches annually. Further in the interior the fall is less,
and it gradually diminishes in amount till the valley of Assam
is entered. On the north side the slope of the mountains is
less abrupt, though there too there is a sudden fall from 5000
to 2000 feet, below which level a succession of gradually low-
ering hills continues to the Brahmaputra.
To the westward of the Khasia hills lie the Garrows, which
arc; lower, the maximum elevation being probably, nowhere
more than three or four thousand feet. To the east, beyond
Jyntea or Jaintia, which is similar in general character to
Khasia, ajid will be included by us under that designation,
there appears to be a considerable depression in the range, a
large river with an open valley penetrating far to the north.
These hills have, however, not been explored by Europeans.
To the east of Cachar again there are lofty hills, inhabited by
Nagas, and also quite unexplored, except in one place, where
they were crossed by Griffith in travelling from Upper Assam
to the Hukum valley, on a tributary of the Irawadi.
Notwithstanding the enormous rain-fall and the great hu-
midity of the atmosphere, the higher parts of the Khasia hills
axe generally bare of trees, except in ravines and occasionally
on northern exposures. This remarkable peculiarity is due
partly to the nature of the surface, and the free drainage, but
mainly to the removal of the soil by the heavy rains, and to
the furious winds which sweep over the level tops of the hills.
Wherever there is shelter, trees spring up at once; and the
base of the mountains, and the deep valleys which penetrate
far into the interior, are clothed with dense forest.
At the base of the Khasia the vegetation is tropical, and
the plants the same as those of Assam. The sheltered and